2011 Valencia MotoGP Race Result: Weather Throws A Curve Ball, Race Settled At Line

Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Valencia:

Casey Stoner has capped his 2011 MotoGP championship with his 10 win of the season, pipping Ben Spies to the line by less than two hundredths of a second. The victory meant that Stoner won the very first and the very last race of the 800cc era, matching his 2007 season for number of wins with 10.

The surprising end of the race was matched by the surprise at the start. As Andrea Dovizioso cut across to enter Turn 1, Alvaro Bautista was forced to grab some extra front brake, folding the front and taking out a bevvy of Ducatis with him. Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden and Randy de Puniet were all taken out by Bautista's bike, leaving just 12 bikes on the grid.

At the front, Casey Stoner was doing what he has done all year, pouring on the gas and pulling a gap at the front. By mid race, his advantage was over 10 seconds, and the Repsol Honda rider looked untouchable. Another processional race looked in the offing, with the result seemingly settled.

Stoner's Repsol Honda colleagues seemed determined to make up for the lack of excitement at the front. Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa had settled into 2nd and 3rd, and were engaged in mortal combat for 3rd in the championship. Pedrosa needed to beat Dovizioso and gain 4 points on the Italian to secure 3rd, while Dovizioso just needed to finish ahead of Pedrosa. They swapped paint, swapped places and gave no quarter for the first 20 laps, Dovizioso holding the upper hand but never able to force the advantage home. Behind the Repsols, Yamaha's Ben Spies sat waiting, poised to pounce should either man make a mistake, something that both Doviozioso and Pedrosa did repeatedly.

The battle was eventually decided by the weather, the rain starting to fall a little heavier making conditions ever more treacherous. As Pedrosa pushed hard to get by Dovizioso, he had a nasty moment, the bike threatening to slide out from underneath him. That was enough to allow Spies past and dent Pedrosa's confidence, and Pedrosa let the Texan and the Italian go.

The weather was also causing problems for Stoner. Despite having a huge lead, Stoner had no reference points, and backed off when the weather got worse. Spies and Dovizioso had each other for reference, and could tell how hard to push by watching each other. Stoner dropped 4 seconds in one lap, then another couple of seconds the next, and with three laps to go, Spies and Dovizioso were upon him. Spies quickly got past and looked the strongest of the trio, looking to gain his second win of the season after his victory at Assen. But Stoner closed the gap in Turn 13, then got perfect drive out of 14 to fly past Spies just as they crossed the line. The margin of victory was negligible, but enough to give Stoner the win. Spies was forced to settle for 2nd, while Dovizioso was happy to take 3rd in the race to add to 3rd in the championship.

Behind the podium riders, a race-long battle between Karel Abraham and Cal Crutchlow was fought over the title of rookie of the year, Abraham drawing the short straw when he ran into the back of Crutchlow, after the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider stuffed his bike up the inside of Abraham's Cardion AB Ducati. Crutchlow came home to his best result of the season, finishing 4th, ahead of Pedrosa, with Yamaha test rider Katsuyaki Nakasuga winning the battle with Tech 3 replacement rider Josh Hayes. Hayes had put in a strong performance all weekend on his very first outing on a MotoGP bike, competing with Nakasuga and finishing the weekend without crashing the bike.

Karel Abraham crossed the line in 8th, while Loris Capirossi finished the final race of his 22-year career in 9th to a massive round of applause from the crowd and the media.

Results:

Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Time Diff
1 27 Casey STONER HONDA 48'18.645  
2 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 48'18.660 0.015
3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 48'24.581 5.936
4 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 48'27.363 8.718
5 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 48'27.966 9.321
6 89 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA YAMAHA 48'42.463 23.818
7 41 Josh HAYES YAMAHA 48'51.763 33.118
8 17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 48'56.597 37.952
9 65 Loris CAPIROSSI DUCATI 49'07.598 48.953
10 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 49'11.146 52.501
11 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 49'25.164 1'06.519
12 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 49'27.405 1'08.760
Not Classified
  14 Randy DE PUNIET DUCATI    
  19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI    
  46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI    
  69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI    

 

2011
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Comments

Now, why is Dovi being "moved on" again?

Elias and Aoyama prove that winning in the smaller classes must be quickly followed with good race results in the Premier class. If I was Bradl I'd be happy to just defend my title.

Great finish to a depressing couple of weeks.

Aoyama may not be the most exciting racer to watch - he tends towards consistency and picking up the pieces from other's mistakes - but he's finished as the 2nd satellite bike rider in the world championship, behind only Colin Edwards on the Tech3 Yamaha. All the other riders ahead of him in the world championship were factory supported. He's beaten all the other 250 riders he came up with, bar the one who got a factory HRC. This is no mean feat.

It's really sad that his reward for being one of the top satellite riders, and being the best of riders with similar MotoGP experience & equipment (indeed, better than some with more experience) is to then lose his seat.

Sorry, I meant "lost his seat... in MotoGP". Edwards gets to stay in MotoGP though, presuming the bike materialises. Edwards has had 8 years, and is near retirement age anyway (he's only a year or so younger than Loris). Aoyama has had only 1 proper season in MotoGP - in which he's done quite well really.

I really wanted Spies to take that one. It just shows how much the Hondas have up on the Yamahas for Casey to close the gap that fast. At least it wasn't a snoozer of a race, sad to see the carnage in turn one though. It was a fighting end to what turned out to be a dark season.

Spies went wide coming out of the final corner. Of course Stoner closed the gap alot before that, but there is no way the Honda has that much power over the Yamaha, as much as it is. Stoner just got a much better run. It was Ben's to lose.

Not to take anything away from Stoner, he was certainly the man this year but if you watch the slow mo from the motogp feed on the run to the flag, Ben's drive wasn't all that bad, Casey really made some steam on him accelerating after they were straight up and down, despite what he said in the post race interview. That was 30% good drive and 70% bike IMO

... and more, although it just might be my personal perspective on it, I think Ben getting off the gas a few corners or so before the finish line to take a look over his shoulder committed the same mistake Johan Zarco committed a few races ago when after exiting in first from the last corner looked over his shoulder only to allow Terol get past him.
One can only throw wild guesses at why there is so much curiosity left in a rider who already has the finish line in sight ...

Spies got on the kerbing, and as it was raining at the time so you'd have to believe they were more than slippery. Stoner kept the proper line, stayed off the kerbing and got a ridiculously good run in comparison. It was too good to be pure Honda grunt.

Anyone with half a brain knew that Stoner would just clear off,which he did.
Ben put in an brilliant performance.The predations on Dani and Dovi were supreme.
He came so close to pipping Casey,but Casey was not to be denied. A riveting battle for the podium. Casey deserved the win but had Ben won,I would be saying he deserved it. Deserved title for Casey and greatest of the 800 era without question. Has Ben just served notice re 1000 and 2012 ? I believe so.
Dovi was not going to give up that 3rd place in the Championship. Most entertaining it was and I'm glad he took it. With his front end style and the boost he has out of this result,one would tend to suggest he will be a tougher force next year on the Yamaha. Any bets against Tech 3 getting up to date factory bits for Dovi next year may be risky.
Of course his hard and late braking style may bear the brunt of some finger wagging from Ducati,but its racing and he was clean as a whistle.Perhaps Ducati should wave big money at him for 2013. Flamboyant he isn't,but one hell of a racer he certainly is.
All in all my rider of the day,given the sad departure from HRC.
And Cheers Loris !!! Great result. Fond memories of #65 on the 990 Ducati.
All the best.

Ended up being a hell'eva race! Maybe Casey is already ridding the 1000 . . . sure looked like it! He made everyone else look like me at track day! The pile up on turn 1 was just a racing incident, as far as I'm concerned. Yes, I was miffed that the Duc's were taken out, but . . . its racing. Josh Hayes did a hell'eva job, being quickest in warm up and never 'binning' it.

And the tribute to #58 . . . . . .

To me it looked as though Bautista was no hotter than either Dovi on his left or Rossi on his right. Unfortunately, when Dovi went right he had nowhere left to go...

The announcers were blaming Dovi at first, but he was clearly in front of Bautista before Bautista turned into his rear wheel. Sucks for Nicky, Rossi and RdP.

It was good seeing Spies riding well, great way for him to end the year after the last few races.